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Brazil’s Supreme Court sentences Bolsonaro supporter to 17 years in prison for storming government offices

Brazil’s Supreme Court handed a 17-year prison sentence Thursday to a supporter of former President Jair Bolsonaro who stormed top government offices on Jan. 8 in an alleged bid to forcefully restore the right-wing leader to office.

Aécio Lúcio Costa Pereira, 51, is the first of several participants in the uprising to be prosecuted.

In January, cameras at the Senate filmed him wearing a shirt calling for a military coup and recording a video of himself praising others who had also broken into the building. Almost 1,500 people were detained on the day of the riots, though most have been released.

The majority of the 11 justices of the court ruled that Pereira committed five crimes: criminal association; staging a coup; violent attack on the rule of law; qualified damage; and destruction of public assets. They sentenced him to 17 years in prison.

Pereira denied any wrongdoing and claimed he took part in a peaceful demonstration of unarmed people.

Three other defendants also were standing trial Thursday as part of the same case, and a final decision for each defendant could drag into coming days.

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